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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Grilled Cheese of the Week- Grilled Cheeseball and Broccoli Salad



So, it's the third week of Grilled Cheese month, otherwise known as April, and I was craving something that would feel taste like a cheese ball. Doesn't everyone my age have happy childhood memories of parking themselves right next to your aunt's famous cheeseball that she rolled in toasted walnuts and just hoovering the entire thing? The cheeseball I am remembering had a bit cayenne and a tiny bit of brandy added to it so it was exiting to eat as a child. I would pretend that I was feeling all tipsy from consuming a tbls of booze.
Or is that just me?




I was thinking super sharp orange cheddar, something to make it spicy and I didn't want layers of ingredients. I wanted it all mixed together so it would just melt into a gooey mess, like it would if you spread cheese from a cheeseball on your bread.

A good friend gave us a chunk of 5  year old aged cheddar from the Wilton Cheese Factory, so I knew that would the perfect cheese. I was going to just add some cayenne like you would for a cheeseball but how tasty would it be to chop up some hot Genoa salami and mix that in with the cheese instead? I had some roasted red peppers in oil laying around so I added a couple table spoons of those finely chopped too. I know that cheeseballs usually have cream cheese in them but I didn't think this was going to warrant even more fat and it won't really add to the flavour so I skipped that. Instead of adding the toasted nuts that would normally coat a cheeseball to the sandwich, I got a nice, nutty, seedy bread with cranberries.

To go with it, I made a lovely, colourful broccoli salad that I while searching Food Buzz from Elise's Kitchen. The dressing was really tasty so the only change there was to use grainy mustard instead of dijon and I changed the contents of the salad to suit our tastes.



Broccoli Salad
adapted from Elise's Kitchen

Dressing:
2 tbls grainy mustard
2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
2 tbls rice vinegar
1 generous tbls honey
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper





salad:
2 broccoli crowns, cut up and slivered
5 asparagus spears, julienned in about 1 1/2" lengths
1/2 small yellow pepper, julienned
1/2 small red pepper, julienned
4 radishes, julienned
2 tbls roasted, salted pumpkin seeds
1 tbls flax seeds
1 tbls chia seeds
1/2 cup dried cranberries

whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.
Put all of the salad ingredients in a larger bowl, toss to mix well, pour the dressing over, mix well until everything is nicely incorporated, cover and refrigerate until ready to eat. I preferred it after it sat for an hour or so because the broccoli and asparagus softened up a bit.












Grilled Cheeseball:

grate about 100 grams of sharp, aged cheddar (or more if you are a cheese hound and want a crazy sandwich)
chop up 5 slices of hot Genoa salami (or any other spicy salami you like)
about 2 tbls chopped roasted red pepper
4 slices of bread
soft butter

Preheat a non stick pan over med heat.
Mix the cheddar, the salami and the roasted red pepper together in a bowl. Butter your bread and put two pieces on a cutting board, buttered side down. Spread half of the cheese mixture on each slice and top with the other slice, buttered side up.
Place the sandwiches in the hot pan and cook until the underside is nicely browned and then flip carefully and cook the other side as well before removing them to a cutting board.
Let the sandwich sit for a minute to cool a bit before you try to cut them or you will have cheese bleeding all over your knife and your cutting board and you want to keep all the goodness between the slices.



The final judgement from Shack "I would cross town for this sandwich". This is from a man who thinks he doesn't like his grilled cheese messed with and he lovingly tolerates my experiments with fancy pants grilled cheese. Each bite gets you a nice, salty, spicy taste of salami and the smooth, smokiness of the red pepper. I loved the result of grating the cheese and mixing all of the ingredients together as opposed to layer them all on top of one another like I have been doing to this point.
Absolute winner.